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It Bites - Eat Me In St. Louis CD (album) cover


It Bites


Crossover Prog

3.36 | 67 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Too young to remember

It is apparent from the get go that the weirdly titled Eat Me In St Louis is a much harder edged affair than the two previous efforts. While previous albums were rather tame in comparison with this, the present one is "positively animal". Personally, this one is much more to my liking. The star of the band is Francis Dunnery whose voice sounds very much like that of Peter Gabriel and whose guitar sound resembles that of Brian May! The guitar sound is not the only connection to Queen, this album is produced by Mack who also produced many of Queen's albums (and not by Steve Hillage as others have stated). The Prog tendencies have not been abandoned here, merely presented a bit differently; instead of timid Pop Prog we get Pop Prog with something of a Hard Rock punch to it! The songs are generally a bit shorter here - short and snappy is the order of the day. But more things are crammed into a shorter space of time, creating a much needed sense of urgency that was often lacking on earlier It Bites-releases. Sheer song length is not a sure sign of progressiveness anyway.

Eat Me In St Louis is also a bit darker in both sound and subject matter compared to previous albums. One example is the beautiful Leaving Without You which seems to be based on a suicide letter that opens with the line "I wish I could die and see what it's like" as well as Murder Of The Planet Earth which is a cynical look on mankind.

As I mentioned above, Dunnery sounds very much like Peter Gabriel on this album. But Eat Me In St Louis is more similar to Peter Gabriel's solo albums than anything from Gabriel- era Genesis. Other influences probably include late 70's/early 80's Yes and Genesis and, as previously mentioned, Queen and perhaps a bit of Asia. Keyboards are played by John Beck who provides some nice keyboard solos in among the "biting" guitar solos and melodic hooks. All band members provide harmony vocals which is something of a trademark for It Bites. It is hard to pick out favourite songs as there are no standout songs as such, but who can ignore the gorgeous guitar melody on Still Too Young To Remember and the lovely vocal on The Ice Melts Into Water? There are a couple of weaker moments in Let Us All Go and Sister Sarah but the quality overall is even and high. The album closes with Charlie which is a lovely guitar-based instrumental that reminds me of Steve Morse playing.

My CD version of Eat Me In St Louis differs somewhat from what is listed here, mine being only a single disc with 11 songs. The very nice (and very weird) cover art is by none other than the great Roger Dean and the new It Bites-logo and album title as printed on the sleeve is done in Dean's unmistakable style.

In my opinion this is It Bites' best album and sadly it was also their last (until the come-back in 2008 without Dunnery). The classic Prog purists will probably not be impressed by this, but for any fan of Crossover Prog this is well worth checking out.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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